‘Drag, beauty, fashion, glamour’: An interview with ‘Drag Race’ superstar Alaska Thunderfuck
The extraterrestrial Glamazon talks about her music, Manila, ‘RuPaul,' and female empowerment – ‘whether they have a vagina or not'
Published 7:00 PM, August 20, 2019
Updated 7:00 PM, August 20, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – On the hit and award-winning reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race, the “well-traveled, campy extraterrestrial” known as Alaska Thunderfuck took home the All Stars 2 crown after emerging as the 5th season’s runner-up. But her reign is no blip, as this queen of many trades – drag, music, and beyond – has a lot of tricks up her sleeves.
Alaska sashayed into RuPaul’s Werk Room with a signature “Hieeeeee.”
During her first time on the show-turned-cultural phenomenon, she moved past the haters – and the pressure of being the then-partner of season 4 winner Sharon Needles – becoming a competition standout and frontrunner. She was also known as one-third of a trio-slash-clique known as Rolaskatox with Roxxxy Andrews and Detox, who allied and rose to the top 4 of the competition – twice, in season 5 and All Stars 2.
The drag superstar was never one to settle for the bottom of the competition. “When Alaska came about, it was like she’s the center of the universe and she gets to be the leading role of everything,” she said in a Logo TV featurette.
Alaska also has a prolific music career, putting out bangers that can simultaneously read the filth out of a room (listen to her hit “Your Make-up Is Terrible”) and tear up a dancefloor.
Recently, she released her third full-length album, Vagina, after 2015’s Anus and 2016’s Poundcake.
Her songs, however, go beyond frivolous and campy concerns. She told MTV News at RuPaul’s DragCon this year, “Some of the message is I like to get wasted at nightclubs and get thrown out. Some of the message is that, like a lot of people, I’m fuckin’ pissed off at how women are treated in this fuckin’ country and in this world. So I just write what I’m feeling and that’s something I feel a lot.”
The queen is also a preacher who goes down from her pulpit: an influential artist who uses her platform to amplify causes about gender equality and even open up the male-dominated arena of drag.
“I think Alaska is probably one of the most important drag queens to the drag community simply because she’s not afraid to do what’s uncomfortable in order to do what’s right," said Abhora, the winner of her drag pageant, Drag Queen of the Year – which she made a point to include non-binary, transgender, and even cisgender contestants.
Alaska is set to return to Manila with a show called An Evening with Alaska on August 29 at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura Premier.
Prior to her show, we sent Alaska some questions via email, talking about her flourishing career after Drag Race – and her views on other pressing issues that will make you say, “Hear, hear!”
Your upcoming show wouldn’t be your first in Manila. You previously performed at Nectar, and now, you have a show at a thousand-seater theatre. How was that show like, and have your expectations changed?
The show in Manila was really fun and dynamic and exciting. I was also really impressed and inspired by the Drag queens there.
No matter what the venue, whether it's a huge arena or a tiny bar, I have a good time as long as I can connect with the people in the audience and with the other Drag queens in the show.
What do you think makes the drag scene here different, in terms of the local queens and the fans?
The queens in Manila have a level of fierceness that is really inspiring! They are sexy and energetic and inventive.
Also the fans are very warm and enthusiastic, which I love.